It was a rare moment that I didn’t feel I was walking through a national geographic spread. The path was just a foot one that connected village after village along the slope of mountain after mountain that cascaded into in the water. I wondered at how for the people who lived here their only flat space was the waters surface. We asked daily how far to Rawarwe, which the local’s call charlie’s after it’s owner, and everyday it was anywhere from hours to days away. Women dried khonole on rocks, the men mended nets, the little girls fished with long poles from the shore and the boys took the boats out like teenagers do their parents cars back home. We saw monkeys, snakes, chameleons, an array of colorful birds and fish. We would hike ‘til we were exhausted and then hiked a little farther ‘til we found a good bit of sand. After asking permission to stay we’d wash up, cook dinner and watch the night. From time to time people you’d find someone selling a coke.
Did I mention it was beautiful? After 5 days of walking we were skeptical that this rawarwe as going to be any better than what we had been experiencing the last couple of days but it was and by the time we got there we were ready for the sit and enjoy spot that it was. Drinks, swimming, snorkeling, natural waterslide, high scream extracting rock jumping, good company and my tent was on a little cliff that overlooked the bay. After a few days of the main event being the family style dinners where we’d pass about big bowls of food we hiked to a village were the only public passanger boat on lake Malawi, the Ilala, stops. The hike out was a bit more of an exercise in patience as children would grab at your bag and hands wanting to hold them and the cries of ‘Adzungu’ reached volumes and reputations of 15 and 20. We finally got a old lodge that had obviously seen it’s glory days years before. Cushions were fading, termites where eating books away, hammocks were deteriorating, the resident dog was so old it looked like a rat and there was just one caretaker seeing to the grounds. Surreal, perhaps even eerie, but we had run of the place and were soon endeared with it.
The Ilala was actually a really pleasant ride though riding the life boats from the shore to get to the steamer was a bit intense as there was overloaded and loaded poorly.
The itinerary for the return home:
10:00am: Board Illala
2:00pm: Arrive in Nkhata Bay and hunt for food
3:00pm: Catch a matola to Mzuzu
5:00pm: Arrive in Mzuzu and walk to the Mzuzuzoo to stay the night
8:00am-11:00am run errands with Lyn
11:00am: Catch the AXA bus to Jenda
3:00pm: Arrive in Jenda and walk to Lyn a fellow PCV’s house
3:30pm: Take a load off
8:00am: Walk to main road
9:00am: Catch a hitch to Kasungu
11:00am: Arrive in Kasungu
11:00am-2:00pm: Run errands
3:00pm: Leave minibus depot
3:30pm: Arrive at Msulira
4:30pm: Arrive at home sweet home!
Did i mention that since it started raining bacteria has been able to grow a bit better and have to laugh as most any cut I get now becomes crazy infected and I walk around with these huge sores like some charity case. But don't worry they are getting better...slowly.